One Day In...Tbilisi
A guide to the post-Soviet city that’s blooming like never before
Tbilisi has become a place that can be compared to a rare jewel: a city rooted in a deeply rich cultural heritage, it’s blossomed into an extraordinary crossroads of ancient and modern. And with its arts, culinary and fashion scenes thriving like never before, and a nightlife that rivals the likes of Berlin, London and Detroit, it’s no wonder the city acts as a magnet – one that's starting to pull more and more people in from across the globe. Get to know how the vibrant Georgian capital can charm you in as little as one day, of which we’re sure will be many.
9AM: Step into Old Town Tbilisi
ძველი თბილისი, Tbilisi, Georgia
Walking through Old Town Tbilisi is like stepping through a kaleidoscopic network of ancient brick homes painted in warm hues of yellows, browns and greens. Winding streets and alleyways are laced with vine leaves and quaint, picturesque Georgian architecture is juxtaposed by modern buildings. Each step in this historic district gives an insight into the heart of Tbilisi.
11am: pit-stop at cafe Leila
Cafe Leila, 18 Ioane Shavteli St, Tbilisi, Georgia
You’ll find Cafe Leila nestled right in Old Tbilisi. Decorated with plants, vibrant colours, beautifully painted crockery – each piece different from the next – and an interior as diverse as the array of beverages and soul food on offer…let’s just say you’ll be coming again. Walk through the entryway crowned in vine leaves, take a seat, have some tea…and maybe come back later for dinner.
11:45am: walk through Dry Bridge flea market
ხიდის ქუჩა, T'bilisi, Georgia
This well-known antique and flea market weaves its way along the avenue of Dry Bridge, its colourful handmade pieces and trinkets spreading out daily, typically on laid down Georgian rugs. From Georgian paintings, handwoven bags, handcrafted pottery and more on offer from locals, it will be easy to get lost in this ever-changing bazaar for a few hours.
1:15pm: eat Georgia’s most famous culinary dish
Sakhachapure N1, 5 Shota Rustaveli Ave, Tbilisi, Georgia
It’s hard to go wrong with khachapuri, Georgia’s staple meal. Sakhachapure N1 is known as the go-to place for this handmade oven-baked bread filled with fresh sulguni cheese that’s typically melted into the center and ready to be stirred with butter and an egg upon serving. Surrounded by the Parliament of Georgia and a trio of museums, it’s safe to say you’ve just found your khachapuri spot.
3:30pm: take a dip in Sulphuric hot springs
Abanotubani, Tbilisi, Georgia
Once you’ve satisfied your appetite and explored the surrounding museums, you might feel like it’s time to take a moment of respite. So how about a rest in some thermal baths? Dating back to over 1500 years and symbolising, as legend has it, the subsequent discovery of Tbilisi, these hot baths are a unique way to relax. Hop on a 15-minute bus ride to Abanotubani, walk down the street Abanos Kucha and take your pick of where to take a bathe.
6pm: freshen up at the hotel…
Rooms Hotel, 14 Merab Kostava St, Tbilisi 0108, Georgia
...and not just any hotel: stay in the former Soviet printing press, now an 125-room property, fusing ancient old-world Tbilisi and 1930s New York with new wave design. Step into the ceramic tiled lounge and enjoy a drink or dinner – made with locally sourced ingredients – under sunlight cascading in through the two-storey glass windows. Or simply head to your own room, each designed to be as sophisticated, charming and unique as the next.
10:30pm: explore the Tbilisi nightlife
Bassiani, 2, Akaki Tsereteli Ave, Tbilisi, Georgia
Founded in 2014, the former swimming pool of Georgia's national football stadium turned cavernous underground techno club will be sure to get you exploring the depths of the Georgian electronic scene. With a sound system that rivals many music venues in Berlin, and a growing roster of DJs climbing up the ranks, Bassiani is testament to Tbilisi’s rising image as the city that binds ancient with contemporary.
What to pack